Eying the Ashes
Almost 50 years ago in America, the cry “Burn, baby, burn!” swept across Los Angeles, California, as riots that began in the Watts neighborhood raged out of control. They would be the first wave of a tide of destruction and rebellion that represented the dismal 1960s.
In a street that had become a war zone, a teenager surveyed the wreckage of a pillaged store and with no semblance of remorse said, “You just take and run, and you burn when there is nothing more to take.” The aftermath of those riots in August 1965 was 34 dead, 1,032 injured, 3,952 arrested, and more than $40 million in property damage.1
However, rather than fixing the grievances within the black community, Joe R. Hicks, former executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, wrote in the Los Angeles Times that the riots “only made things worse. And since then the problems have metastasized.”2
The Watts riots evoked the theme of virtually every out-of-control mob on the planet: Burn the establishment to the ground and wait to see what arises from the ashes.
Wishing a Way to Paradise
When mobs took over the streets in Egypt in February, copycat riots broke out around the Middle East and in some American cities. The premise was that defying order would be the best route to achieve desired goals. Too often, however, such demonstrations turn to chaos, instigate violence, and reap bitter results.
For example, at the height of the demonstrations in Wisconsin, Michael Capuano, a seven-term Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, declared, “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.” The Boston Herald said the comment “drew wild applause and cheers.” Capuano now says he regrets his “choice of words.” However, the inflammatory rhetoric is a bad omen and should be a wake-up call to all loyal Americans.
The protests and violence that have cascaded like dominoes across the Middle East have exposed the underbelly of dark forces that feel the time is right to subjugate the region. At the same time, the West’s staggering ignorance, naiveté, and unrealistic appraisals of the area’s driving forces strain the limits of comprehension.
There is no greater manifestation of this delusional thinking than the statement by U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to a congressional committee. “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood,’” he said, “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”3
Clapper is not the lone voice of such gross misinformation. From politicians to media moguls to correspondents, the message resonates that to be on the “right side,” we must join the milling masses stiffing the system. With many, it’s all about being on the winning side when governments collapse. And therein lies the problem. Which side is the “right side,” and who will emerge as the new powerbrokers?
No one questions that most oppressed people desire to be free, particularly in the heavy-handed totalitarian regimes of the Middle East. But with no discernable democratic leaders in charge of the march toward change, who is organized to take control when the dust settles?
Enter the Muslim Brotherhood
The group that is organized to rise to the top across the region is the Muslim Brotherhood. This is not a passel of benign, secular do-gooders. And any Western attempt to sanitize this Islamist menace disgraces all obligations to honesty and to the people struggling for a free and democratic government.
Early on, Brotherhood spokesmen proclaimed a disinterest in leading any new governments that might materialize from the chaos. This is a ruse. At issue is the power to control, even if only behind the scenes, until the time is right to impose the Allah-vested regime they espouse.
We could wonder if this bait-and-wait method can succeed. If Westerners learned anything from history, they would already know. But we don’t learn from history, and the tutorials staring us in the face are evidence of our collective dereliction. The bait-and-wait process transformed Iran into the tyrannical mullacracy now threatening us all. In the Gaza Strip, after Israel’s now-lamented unilateral withdrawal in 2005, jihadist Hamas went from a bit player to a daily threat to Israeli citizens by wresting power from the feckless Palestinian Authority. Hezbollah terrorists, helped by Syria and Iran, have grown from an Islamist nuisance to the power in control of Lebanon.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s true nature was seen on October 6, 1981, with the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. As a column of army vehicles passed the reviewing stand during festivities commemorating Egypt’s attack on Israel in October 1973 (the Yom Kippur War), assassins charged the stand, throwing grenades and firing weapons into the gathering of dignitaries that included the president.
The attackers were later identified as Islamist nationalists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and using the name Islamic Jihad. In the eyes of the Brotherhood, Sadat’s capital crime was making peace with Israel in 1979.
The strain of hatred for Israel still runs deep in the ideological minds of the new breed of Brotherhood leaders who may eventually become Egypt’s headliners. They assert that the peace treaty should no longer be recognized, which is another way of proclaiming the resumption of a state of war with the Jewish nation. Incidentally, the Hamas element now controlling Gaza claims to be an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood’s goals are not confined to regional conquest; its objectives are global. In short, it seeks to convert Muslim countries into states ruled by Sharia (Muslim) law, reestablish the Caliphate, and ultimately dominate the world. Its slogan makes the case: “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Qur’an is our law; jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
The imposition of Sharia law alone should repulse the entire civilized world. In January a 14-year-old girl named Hena was raped by a 40-year-old man outside her home in Bangladesh. Consistent with Sharia law, the local mosque in her village issued a fatwa ordering that Hena, though a rape victim, be given 100 lashes for “sexual immorality.” The girl collapsed after 60 lashes and died six days later.
Living in an At-Risk World
We’ve said it many times, but it is a message that doesn’t seem to resonate well in a culture eager to turn away from any unpleasantness that threatens to invade its space. Indeed, one of the foremost reasons chaos has descended on such large sections of the world is the well-founded perception that the West, led by America, has gone soft. And our enemies do not hesitate to say so.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Muhammad Badi, has said the U.S. is on the threshold of collapse due to its immorality. He said the United States “is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise” and that jihad will bring Americans and Zionists to their knees.4 Not too long ago there was a no-tolerance stance against terror. No negotiations with terrorist groups or nations giving them aid and comfort. Those attacking innocent civilians were given no quarter.
A sterling example of this position was Israel’s daring rescue of 103 hostages from the Entebbe airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976. Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France plane carrying 248 passengers and held them for a week. The Israel Defense Forces struck the facility, released the hostages, and dealt with the terrorists. The raid sent a clear message: Terror not tolerated; try it, and you lose. The principle is universal. Survival is based on strength and the capacity and will to employ it when necessary.
Our enemies have thrown down the gauntlet. Implausibly, while they daily announce their intentions to take us out, many of our leaders insist on protesting that the Muslims don’t really mean what they are saying. Western politicians seem to believe back-slapping diplomacy and a few more perks can tame the savage beast. This is not only nonsense, but it imperils the lives of the citizens whom these leaders have pledged to protect.
Obviously, Israel is in the epicenter of the coming storm. Inexplicably, many of those who should be first in line to stand with our one true friend in the Middle East, and perhaps the world for that matter, side with her enemies.
Also imperiled and living with a growing sense of uncertainty and fear are the Christians of the region. A hint of what may lie ahead surfaced before a crowd of 250,000 at Tahrir Square in Cairo in February. Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi “asked Christians to bow in Muslim prayer in an act of submission to Allah,” wrote WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein.5 The request could mean only one thing: The Brotherhood wants Christians to submit to Allah and eventually to the dreaded Sharia law. And should Sharia and Islamist domination become their order of life, how much aid and comfort can they expect from the “free world”?
I was asked by a pastor friend recently if I thought we were seeing the beginning of the last battle, meaning Armageddon. My answer was no. But, I added, we are certainly seeing the warm-up stage. And while the world stands in confusion and uncertainty, staring at the ashes of societal demolition and waiting to see what will arise from them, we believers have a sure hope. We don’t look down but up—expecting the fulfillment of His promise and our blessed hope that one day soon He will call us home.
A hymn by the late Pastor Cleavant Derricks says it well: “We’ll soon be done with troubles and trials. Yes, in that home on the other side…gonna sit down and rest a little while.” I’ll subscribe to that!
- “144 Hours in August 1965,” Government Documents Department and Doheny Electronic Resources Center, University of Southern California <usc.edu/libraries/archives/cityinstress/mccone/part4.html>.
- Joe R. Hicks, “We only burned ourselves, baby,” Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005 <articles.latimes.com/ 2005/aug/07/opinion/op-hicks7>.
- Jonathan Karl, “Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: Muslim Brotherhood ‘Largely Secular,’” ABC News, February 10, 2011 <tinyurl.com/4oqmd9m>.
- “An Overview of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Stance on U.S. and Jihad; Translation of Its Draft Political Platform,” The Middle East Media Research Institute, dispatch no. 3556, February 3, 2011 <memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4970.htm>.
- Aaron Klein, “Christians asked to bow in submission to Allah,” WorldNetDaily, February 21, 2011 <wnd.com/?pageId=266385>.